A collection of memorabilia from tornado-ravaged Page Middle School is in storage and will ultimately be displayed in the new facility that will replace Page. The collection includes clocks that stopped as the storm hit and mementos from Page athletics. Photo by Kim Robins
Work to clean up what remains of Page Middle School on Route 17 should be completed by next week, school division construction manager Scott Shorland told the Gloucester School Board on Tuesday.
The school, which served as Gloucester High School until the present GHS was opened in 1975, was partially destroyed by a tornado in April of last year. About one-third of the building was decimated by the storm and much of the remaining structure was damaged. A new school to replace Page is planned for a site on T.C. Walker Road.
Demolition work at the Route 17 site was scheduled for completion by Aug. 1, but Shorland said workers encountered some underground pipes with asbestos insulation and the subsequent unexpected abatement work slowed the project.
Gloucester Youth Football, which has long used the playing fields at Page, was promised access to the site by Aug. 1. School division assistant principal John Hutchinson said school officials kept the promise by putting up some additional fencing and the youth league was allowed onsite. The league practices during times when no demolition work is underway.
Shorland said the company conducting the cleanup is doing a thorough job of recycling the debris, and estimated it has been able to recycle 80 percent of the materials. He said the company is separating the reclaimable materials onsite. “I think it’s fairly impressive. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Shorland said of the recycling operation, which is helping to reduce the cost of the cleanup.